Sunday, 29 April 2012

Life and work has been busy but it might be time to kick start this blog back to life. So here are my thoughts on something that is grabbing my interest of late: open data and using visualization tools to make large data sets understandable.

Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults – allowing you to check out the numbers for yourself. The Guardian Newspaper in the UK offers some good examples http://www.guardian.co.uk/world-government-data but given the size and complexity of these data sets how do we make sense of them? If you need expensive software to data mine and process the information will the findings be restricted to haves at the expense of the havenots?

It will therefore be fascinating to see if open source projects such as the Miso Project will have an impact on civil society and democracy in general. Does a better understanding of what is going on make a difference? Does it lead to better decision making and or more accountable government? Does the fact that the Guardian Newspaper (along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) is one of the Miso Project partners suggest large data set visualization may also have a positive impact on journalism and investigative reporting?

"This week has seen the launch of The Miso Project, an “open source toolkit designed to expedite the creation of high-quality interactive storytelling and data visualization content”. http://misoproject.com/dataset/examples.html

It is also interesting to see that there are calls for single European license for open data.

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